Back to the future
Devils Lake Central High School Yearbook.
I posted this picture from my high school yearbook for #tbt, or #throwbackthursday, one of the more popular hashtags on Instagram. Nostalgia is at the heart of #tbt.That bittersweet longing for the past isn't something I indulge in often. My fellow Aquarians and I like to spend more time in the future.
My past future has become my present. "[Claudine] plans to pursue a career in writing 'even in advertising' hoping that one day her works will be published." Ta-da!
I will continue to strive to live up to my English teacher, Mrs. Bott's description, "You really don't now what to expect from her, and it's always different from what anyone else does."
Heck, it's gotten me this far.
Take a Moment
- Dec 18, 2013
- Posted in: SEO, Self Improvement, Public Relations, Online Marketing and Social Media, Office Culture, News, Marketing Strategy, Lifestyle, Focus Testing, Design, Business, Branding, Advertising
At Christmas time things can get very hectic. At Fusion, we are working like little elves to get everything done before we go on our much deserved Christmas and New Year's break.
To help you get back into the spirit of Christmas and everything else we celebrate at this time of year, have a look at these great quotations. To see a handy list of cultural and religious celebrations by date, click here.
My family celebrates Christmas. Merry Christmas.
A Retrospective, A Mid-Life Crisis or Just a Look Back
A couple months ago, I marked the 9th anniversary of my time at Fusion. When this was mentioned around the office, Morris said to me "You mean I've known you for a third of your life?" and holy bleep-this-out, he was right.
Nine years ago, at the ripe age of 21, I graduated from college and a week later I took up my first "real job" at Fusion. At the time, I was double-digits younger than any of the other creative team members and felt a lot like a clueless kid trying to run with the big boys. But I pulled up my chair, faked confidence, absorbed everything I could from the smarter people around me and pretended to know things I didn't while furiously figuring them out before anyone knew I was bluffing. I guess it worked, because I never got fired.
Now, when Claudine suggested yesterday that I put together a "favourite work from the past nine years at Fusion" post, I felt a little like Bieber doing a memoir at the wise age of 20 (is he even 20? I refuse to google Justin Bieber.). But hey - if the Biebs can do it, so can I. So, behold some of my favourites from the time between then and now. I'm happy to say I have learned a few things along the way and am faking it a lot less often now.
This fundraising brochure for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights was one of the first things I got to work on at Fusion. It was designed by Terry and I do not in any way want to take credit for its beauty, but as a junior I was overjoyed to just get to take his started vision and run with it. And what a run it was, because look - blind emboss! Not one, but two, varnishes! Special inserts and fold out panels! Welcome to designer heaven - it never happens, so when it does you must relish in the glory of it.
This annual report for Destination Winnipeg was the first big thing that I got to do on my own, from concept to completion. (I even got to sneak in an emboss AND a varnish again.) I was pretty excited about and happy with the report myself and the fact that this won a national award was pretty cool for me, but the thing that really blew my mind and filled me with pride was Leighton telling me that Terry had said that he was "impressed" with it. I'll never forget hearing that.
This little booklet was a self-promo mailer for Fusion and is definitely one of my favourite projects ever. We were under a time-crunch to get this produced and I remember coming in one morning and sitting down in the boardroom with the team, and telling them "So, I was brainstorming for this last night and it was late and I was tired so maybe I'm crazy but, like, what about we do a flip book that reads two different stories from each side, and one side is from our perspecive and the other side is from the client's perspective, and they meet up in the middle to show how they're meant to be together and also - it's a circus theme. Who's with me?!" And to their credit, not one person in that room told me I was insane, and instead we ran with this fairly off-kilter idea and turned it into the cutest little book that I had an absolute blast designing. Working overtime has never been so fun.
Lastly, I could never pick just one St. Vital Centre campaign or piece as THE favourite, but here are three of my personal faves from the archives. Much of my time over the last few years has been spent on this one client's work - and what a client it is! They are always so open to any new or crazy idea we dream up, and the team I've worked with for the St. Vital account over the years has made me love every minute. Ok, so some of those minutes were pretty crazy and maybe hard to love, but when you're working with a great group of friends, it's easy to look past that.
In closing: I realize it is only Thursday, but let's pretend it's Friday, raise a glass, and say "Cheers!" Cheers to the past and what has been, and also to the future and the exciting times ahead.
Not the same old, same old.
The other day, I was talking with one of my colleagues at Fusion about how much things have changed in our industry over the last decade.
We’ve read articles about serious challenges that face the advertising agency and particularly the threat of Google and technology and how clients will be able to do it all themselves, eliminating the middle man.
The word agency essentially means middle man. An ad agency was actually the middle man in the early days when agencies made all of their revenues from media commissions. Advertising agencies began as “agents” of newspaper ad space. They would buy the ads at an agency discount and sell them to the client at the rate card rate.
The US's first ad agency. (interesting story here)
The rise of digital marketing and social media was said to spell the end of the marketing middle man. Now, a company can speak directly to their market, hear what they have to say and promote themselves. They can do their own Google Pay-Per-Click or place their own Facebook ads. They can get their brand’s creative messaging done with crowd-sourcing, or “desktop publish” in-house (another harbinger to the death of the ad agency twenty years ago).
Instead, as the world of advertising changes, it has become incredibly more complex. The number of marketing channel choices has grown faster than anyone could have imagined and it continues to increase daily. Instead of simplifying marketing as was forecast, the digital age has brought waves of new data cascading down on the business. And smart strategies are only made by comprehending all of the data. Decision paralysis ensues.
Larger version here (click on it).
We used to come up with cool ideas with cool design and decide whether television, radio, print or outdoor was best. Standing out was most of the battle.
Equity research firm Pivotal Research Group mentions in a recent overview of ad agencies: "As marketers have come to face more and more choices for their marketing strategies, they increasingly rely upon external and ostensibly neutral partners—such as agencies—to both filter ideas and support the socialization of initiatives or process changes across the broader organization. This factor is the most critical one which explains why agencies face no credible threat of disintermediation from technology-driven marketing or media platforms."
Traditional advertising agencies will die if they don’t change. But I don’t see many businesses, because it is now easier for them, taking on what we do to create a strategy and sell a product. It is much more difficult than it ever was. You need experts in all of the many alternative traditional and digital channels, and experts in messaging within these channels to get heard and be considered. And you can’t crowd-source a penetrating message without a keen analysis of all of the data, without the experts on the hundreds of channel choices and without the experts who know how to work within them.
We are changing all the time. Things are happening so fast that we are doing things here at Fusion that we didn’t do last year and dropping things that we did last year. Change is a great thing. Advertising has become so much more dynamic and exciting. And it has become a true science. I love it.
Love letter to great clients.
We are a lucky bunch over here at Fusion. I truly believe that we are blessed with working with many of Winnipeg’s best clients. The agency/client relationship is a unique relationship, it’s a people-based relationship, not a transactional-based one, emotions, egos and subjectivity come into play. Like any good relationship, for it to last it takes work and needs to build on a solid foundation.
So why do I think we have the best clients?
For starters, there’s a high level of trust with our clients. We’re able to do amazing work, because our clients place high trust in our insights and expertise, knowing that we’re always working in their best interest. Our clients are open to our ideas, even when they push the boundaries.
Our clients see us as partners, not suppliers, working with them, not for them. As partners, our great clients share their visions, dreams, plans, expectations, opinions and goals. They indulge important information, confide in us and consistently keep us in the loop, knowing that this relationship helps them achieve their vision. We collaborate together and share ideas because there’s mutual respect and trust.
The backbone of any strong relationship is communication. Our clients are clear in their expectations, are fair, and ensure we can succeed together. They work through briefs with us, ensuring we’re all on page with agreed upon strategy before the creative process begins. And hey, when the going gets tough, honest conversations happen and only serve to strengthen the product and the relationship.
And finally, our clients rely on us to do our jobs, get the job done, and get it done right. We love being trusted to make sure everything is perfect from start to finish.
The success of the work ultimately depends on the strength of the relationship. And because of the faith and trust our great clients place in us we give the love right back with enthusiasm, passion, creativity, motivation and dedication in our work each and every day.